The new materials, dubbed “Something Can Be Done! Guide,” provides a step-by-step guide for victims. It provides concrete measures that they can take, including evidence preservation, copyright registration, restraining orders, and takedown requests to Internet companies—many of which don’t require the often-costly services of a lawyer. (Without My Consent’s efforts are reminiscent of Nolo, a decades-old do-it-yourself legal publisher.)
His wife Melania, in contrast, keeps a lower profile, both in the public eye and in court, so it caught my attention when Melania brought a defamation lawsuit. She sued a blogger, Webster Griffin Tarpley, for defamation. He blogged several rumors about Melania but later retracted the post (presumably under legal threats). He got sued anyway. Separately, Mail Media Inc. (MMI), which allegedly runs the MailOnline website, published an article reporting on similar rumors. They too retracted the post and got sued anyway.
[Note: Venkat represented Yelp in this case but was not involved in the preparation of this post.]
For all of the drama associated with Section 230 jurisprudence this year–including in the Ninth Circuit–it’s easy to forget that Section 230 still works well in simple cases when a plaintiff tries to hold a website liable for third party content. So it’s refreshing to get a straightforward Section 230 case that reaches the expected result. And it’s especially gratifying to see a court recognize–and reject–efforts to plead around Section 230.
Kimzey is a locksmith operating as Redmond Locksmith a/k/a Redmond Mobile Locksmith. “Sarah K” left a negative Yelp review of the business. Kimzey sued Yelp pro se. The district court easily tossed the lawsuit. The Ninth Circuit affirms.
Case citation: Kimzey v. Yelp!, Nos. 14-35487 & 14-35494 (9th Cir. Sept. 12, 2016)
The case concerns a June decision by a state appeals court that requires Yelp to remove a defamatory review about a law firm written by an unhappy client. A lower court issued a default judgement for over $500,000 against the reviewer, Ava Bird, for a review that the law firm claimed was defamatory. Bird was sued for defamation, but was a no-show in court.
S.E. has Down Syndrome. The complaint alleges that in 2008, S.E. attended a baseball game (at the age of 8) in Nashville and was photographed standing outside the stadium near a concession stand. The photographer posted the photo to his Twitter account with the caption “everything that’s wrong with America.” The photo became a meme. In 2014, it was posted to CBS News’ website. A few years later (in 2016), Valentin Chmerkovisky (the “Dancing with the Stars” pro) posted the meme to his Facebook page with the following caption:
Letting your kid become obese should be considered child abuse.
The photo has been viewed by many of Chmerkovskiy’s “quarter million” followers on Facebook. Chmerkovskiy later posted the following statement:
I’m truly sorry for the lack of sensitivity . . . but one some level I have to agree . . . You’re handicapping your kid, and they’re defenseless. They don’t know better, that’s why you’re there . . . anyway I’m just a childless preacher, but here’s some food for thought. #nopunintended.
While unclear, it appears he posted this statement after S.E.’s mom complained to him and asked him to take down the photo.